The U.S. Forest Service intends to begin selling older wild horses captured from the Devils Garden Wild Horse Territory in Northern California for $1 apiece with limitations on the uses of those horses, including that they cannot be sold to slaughter.
While horse slaughter and the transport of wild horses with intent to slaughter are illegal under California law, the planned price decrease raises concerns because kill buyers, or third parties willing to sell to slaughterhouses, may see the horses as more desirable because of the potential to profit from their slaughter in Canada or Mexico.
The drop in sale price is tentatively set to go into effect on Dec. 18. USFS is set to make the change official next week.
Wild horses at Modoc National Forest’s Double Devil Corrals, located near Alturas, Calif., are now available for adoption for $125 and sale horses for $25. The USFS retains the title on adopted wild horses for one year. Those that purchase a wild horse receive that horse’s title immediately.
The USFS has been sued by advocates — including Return to Freedom — because of its plan to sell any remaining older horses (or horses who have not been adopted or sold after three attempts) without limitations on the uses of those horses, including the possibility that they could be sold to slaughter. USFS has stated it will begin those sales as soon as Feb. 18. Two such cases are ongoing.
The wild horses are among 932 captured from Devil’s Garden during a fall helicopter roundup.
As of Dec. 4, 157 wild horses ages 10 and older were available for sale with limitations or adoption from the Double Devil Corrals. Another 43 horses ages 9-under were available for adoption, according to USFS.
The balance of the captured wild horses – 653 ages 9-under as well as mares with foals — were shipped to the Bureau of Land Management’s Litchfield Corrals in Susanville, Calif. Poor weather has slowed gelding and microchipping necessary to prepare those horses for adoption. No start date for adoptions has been announced.